Saturday, May 12, 2007

Presenting Rusted Root!

Presenting... Rusted Root!

Rusted Root!

My first sweater. After three weeks and four skeins of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece I have a lovely spring/summer/fall sweater. I love it, and not in an obligatory because I made it kind of way, but in an over the top lovefest sort of way. The color is perfect, the fit is perfect, the design is perfect, and the knitting is, well almost perfect. Here are my thoughts on the various aspects of the process.

The yarn: I really like Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece. It comes in a great variety of colors and is reasonably priced. Being a cotton blend yarn (80% cotton / 20% wool) I had feared it might be a tad hard on my hands like many cotton yarns can be, but I had absolutely no problems with it hurting my hands. The yarn is soft to the touch, and does have considerable more elasticity than 100% cotton yarn. My only gripe about Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece is that it can be incredibly splitty. There were many stitches I had to go back and make sure I had the entire loop on the needle not just a few of the strands that make up the yarn. In this respect I had to pay more attention to each stitch then I would have if I was using a non-splitty yarn. Overall, I'd recommend Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece and will use it again in future projects.

Rusted Root Lace Panel

Pattern: The pattern is incredibly well written except one small section that could be confusing to those new to top-down raglan sweaters (ie ME!). It was written to M1, K1 right after the lace pattern instead of K to first marker M1 K1. This put the increases for the sleeves right after the lace pattern unless you knew to knit to 1 st before the sleeve marker. So for a few rows until I realized what I was doing was wrong I made the increases right after the lace pattern. I caught it only a few rounds in, so I decided to let it go and not rip back. It is barely noticeable. Aside from that one minor flaw in the pattern, I didn't find any others. One thing about this pattern I found after browsing through the Craftster archives is that the sizes tend to run big. I am normally a size XL, but I downsized to a size large for this sweater, which is a good thing because it fits perfectly. The beauty of the pattern (and top-down raglans) is that you can try them on as you go. I tried mine on quiet a bit while in the process of knitting to make sure everything was working as intended. I know that several people over at the Sexy Knitters Club Sexy Knitters Club were having problems with the sleeves ending up not being poufy enough. I didn't really want super poufy sleeves because a large chest + poufy sleeves = not flattering. What I did want was the sleeves to be a bit longer. My sleeves actually turned out a bit larger than intended (see gauge below) but I'm not sure if it bothers me enough to rip them back. I didn't notice how large they were until after the sweater was blocked, they didn't bother me before it was blocked.

Gauge: My gauge differed from the recommended gauge only in the number of stitches per row. I was spot on for the number of stitches per inch, but I was getting one less stitch per row which meant less knitting!

Needles: I used Knitpicks options needles and boy are they great for this type of sweater! It is way simple to try it on as you go by leaving the cables in with the endcaps on. I used a US 6 for the body and a US 4 for the ribbing. Definitely love these needles.

Modifications: I didn't modify it very much. I did a few more rows of ribbing on the sleeves and bottom, but that's it.

Rusted Root Lace

Overall Thoughts: I will definitely make this sweater again and I am already thinking of a long-sleeved winter version with a cable motif where the lace panel is currently. I love the asymmetrical look to it and really like the versitility the lace panel affords as it would be really easy to swap out stitch pattern of a similar size. I really like top down raglans, in fact I already have another one on the needles (more about that later). I loved the process of this knit. I learned so many things, top down sweater construction, lace patterns, and beign truthful with myself about patience over progress. This sweater felt like it went incredibly fast and I was unusually monogamous with it. I am by no means a monogamous knitter ( uh hello log cabin blanket, I'll get back to you eventually!) but I had such a great time watching it grow on my needles that I pushed myself to continue. I finished it in three weeks but didn't block it until last Sunday. (I had a tremendous amount of guilt about showing you all photos of an unblocked Rusted Root, so I decided to delay the F.O. post to show off Rusted Root how she deserves to be seen, all shiny and clean and de-lumpified.) And me? I'm still basking in the "I just completed the first-ever sweater" glow.